Bulova 1921 Hudson Maxim

Submitted by Reverend Rob on March 13, 2014 - 11:02am
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
American Standard
Additional Information

I've been working on three pocket watches, one that is definitely a Hudson Maxim, another a probable HM, but they all bear striking similarities, which I will show. 

This watch is in the same serial number range as the Hudson Maxim, and sports a Gold Vermeil dial, in exquisite condition. It is a 17 jewel 17R movt , and I have yet to pin down the actual ebauche, but I am still looking and have several more to compare. The jewels are in gold chatons, and the balance has a fine adjustment with Breguet Overcoil. 

Not a cheap watch, to be sure, but certain elements of its manufacture tell me this was, as you might expect, not the top of the line. I found a poorly set balance jewel, which I corrected, but generally everything was executed well. I added minute quantities of India ink to spots on the black indices, and cleaned the gold dial painstakingly with a tiny sharpened toothpick. 

The plate serial number is different than the one on the barrel bridge, however, the inscribed reference numbers underneath all match the plate number. This is also true of the Hudson Maxim shown below, and I suspect it was a common practice. Why the bridge should have a different number is beyond me, when it is clearly original to the watch.

The crystal, while unlikely to be original, is at least very old, as there are small bubbles in the glass. 

I will include some comparison pics in the comments to show a re-dialed Hudson Maxim, and an Original Hudson Maxim.

After its CTR it is running strong and keeps excellent time. 

I find it interesting that Bulova seems to have limited the pocket watch line to 17''', and these watches look small when seen with other watches from the same time. 

Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
Reverend Rob
Posted March 13, 2014 - 11:16am

The main plate bears the serial number as published, and the train bridge bears the number 122071. I have chosen the former, as it is more likely that the bridge was swapped out as the whole main plate, although this also happens. This is seen in both the other watches. In all three cases, the numbers are a couple thousand away from each other. 

Here are the other two, one that is certainly a Hudson Maxim, and the other a re-dialed HM, IMO. 

It is noticeable that the sub second dial on the left is larger than the Hudson Maxim on the right, but only by 1 mm in diameter. I'll be restoring the HM next. 

What do you folks think regarding the re-dialing? The HM dial is in poor cosmetic condition, tarnished and also rubbed smooth, possibly by some attempts to clean it. 

Reverend Rob
Posted March 13, 2014 - 11:23am

Another thing worth mentioning is that the watches are, as you might expect, entirely hand finished and fitted. Bridges and parts from one do not necessarily fit perfectly in another. This would be why they painstakingly kept the parts together with their serial numbers abbreviated on the underside of the bridges, balance wheels, etc. I think we already covered this in another post.

Posted March 13, 2014 - 11:11pm

You did a nice job on the subject watch Rob, being able to clean one up like that with out resorting to case and dial refinishes are rare...

If the jewels are all set in solid gold, that is a good sign that the movement has not been serviced in many years, or if it has it was done by a very honest watchmaker...most get changed out to brass.

My personal opinion would be to have the dial refinished on the third watch, it does look like someone tried to clean it and after they discovered the more than the wanted to came off, the went all the way.

A donor dial would be another option, but they usually bring more than a redial if you can find one...

Geoff Baker
Posted March 14, 2014 - 5:35am

WOW, what a watch Rev, congratulations on this one, it really is a thing of beauty! I guess based on the case and mvnt we tag it as an HM?

Reverend Rob
Posted March 14, 2014 - 10:54am

I had a look at the ads and forums, and we don't have a clear picture of what the older HM's looked like, if they were called that at all. The ones that are marked Hudson Maxim on the dial are obvious, but these engraved watches may be something else. The engraved dial precludes any name being placed there, but I have seen wrist and trench versions with engraved centres, with a little strip milled flat in the engraving to place the name, be it Bulova or other brand. 

If Bulova was so keen on advertising their Rubaiyat and Hudson Maxim watches, surely they would have marked them as such? 

My ID of 17R is based on the keyless works fingerprint. This appears to be a Swiss Bulova design, not from any other ebauche. This is also true of the 17A, 17H, and 17AN. The 17TR was based on this, the 17R. 

I have also seen Lord Springfields with the same serial number range, and same movts., but these are always marked 'Lord Springfield'. 

Reverend Rob
Posted March 15, 2014 - 11:39am

Just an update on the serial number discrepancy, I have now seen the same thing on 4 watches. The assembly reference numbers inscribed during manufacture on the underside of the parts, to keep them all together, all match the mainplate number. Even the barrel bridge, with its different number on top, matches the plate with the number inscribed underneath itself, so my original assumption that the parts are from different watches is incorrect. This watch is oddly all original. 

Geoff Baker
Posted March 16, 2014 - 5:25am

Oddly original? How about serendipitously original, WONDERFULLY orginial !

Reverend Rob
Posted March 16, 2014 - 10:10am

Considering how many I see that have had major parts swapped out, it is refreshing.

I can't imagine why there would be two serial numbers on the watch, though. 

Posted April 20, 2014 - 7:45am


    This 1921 ad shows what is named as a "Gruen", but when one looks closely at the dial, it looks like there are two words in the name. "Hudson Maxim"? The name "Bulovas Hudson Maxim" is mentioned in the ad.

It certainly looks like what is known as these models.



   Very similar.

   Bulova watch


Reverend Rob
Posted September 16, 2014 - 7:40pm

As per our recent thread on 20's dating, maybe this is a 1920 Hudson Maxim? The second number on the case being 0.